Mick Foley, the WWE Hall of Famer and current Raw General Manager, wrote a long post on Facebook today about his friendship with Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon. It’s an interesting article that has really gotten a lot of people talking on his Facebook page. Here it is in its entirety and then I have some thoughts on my own.
THE McMAHON/FOLEY ERA
I was absolutely elated following the opening of WWE Raw – an elation that had me looking back on the recent GM opportunity that was presented to me, as well as my long-term friendship with the woman who presented it to me, Stephanie McMahon.
The initial phone call a few months back caught me completely off guard. Following the call, I walked downstairs, looked at my daughter Noelle Foley, and said “I was just offered the Raw GM job.”
“Are you going to take it?”, Noelle asked.
“I have to”, I said. “Otherwise, I’ll be sitting on the couch, watching someone else do the job, wondering to myself ‘what if.”
There are two things you need to know that factored into my decision to take the GM job.
1) It’s really important to me that I not be the guy sitting on my couch, saying “what if”.
2) In regard to my time as WWE Commissioner in 2000, I’m going to quote#CruiserweightClassic stand-out Brian Kendrick quoting 80’s hair-band Cinderella, who sang “Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone”. My time as commissioner was one of the best periods of my life, and not doing whatever I needed to do to keep the job for as long as possible was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
I guess I should probably include a third factor:
3) I love working with Stephanie McMahon.
In case you’re wondering – the story of the girl with the shy smile/guy with the tooth in his nose is absolutely true. I was flattered that Pat Patterson included aspects of the story in his memoir “Accepted”, and it is included in Stephanie’s upcoming “unReal” as well. I was in pretty rough shape after that 1998 #HellInACell match, but I delayed medical care until I could find Pat Patterson who had lost a loved one during the course of the evening. I gave Pat a hug, noticed a beautiful young lady with a shy smile – and gave her what was probably a fairly hideous smile of my own. That was my unofficial introduction to Stephanie McMahon – WWE.
A year and a half later, the beautiful young lady with the shy smile didn’t seem quite so shy anymore; she was a force to be reckoned with in WWE and was a big part of the classic program I had with Paul “Triple H” Levesque to close out my career in early 2000. (Yeah, I know I came back four years later, and way too often after that – but let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story!)I truly enjoyed working with Stephanie when I was the commissioner in 2000, and I’m proud to say that I was the first on-air Stephanie McMahon slapping victim. I still remember my basic guidelines before the big slap – “you can hit me as hard as you want, but use your fingers instead of the palm, and try not to hit me in the ear, because you might break my eardrum.”
Over the years, I may have gone in and out of favor with the company, and my relationship with Mr McMahon has been strained at times – although it’s getting much better. But there has never been a time when I have not considered Stephanie McMahon a friend. Back in 2000, my daughter Noelle was so fond of Stephanie, that she made her a pot-holder, which, rumor has it, still holds a place of distinction in the back of a drawer in the McMahon/Levesque home.
That run in 2000 was really the last time I had any type of extended on-air role with Stephanie, although she continued to be an influence on my career – producing many of the segments from my 2004 return with Randy Orton and writing some of the best promos for my feuds with Edge and Ric Flair in 2006. I have also enjoyed joining Stephanie several times for visits with wounded service-members in Washington, DC where she serves on the board of directors for USO Metro-Washington.
But what I was really looking forward to was that opportunity to work together again on-air, where I was sure we would bring out the best in each other. I think you saw some of that on Monday night – and hopefully not for the last time. Stephanie will sometimes mention that she “plays” a bad guy on TV. I don’t think she’s playing. I think she has that rare ability to inhabit a character, to the point where she becomes it – so that when she’s good, she’s really good; but when she’s bad she’s even better.
The opening to #Raw on Monday felt important to both of us. For me, it was powerful, almost magical – the type of thing that made what had previously seemed like a random selection as GM in the minds of many fans suddenly make perfect sense. The type of thing that gets me excited about the future, might encourage WWE Superstars to take risks with their characters and spark new ideas among the creative team. It’s the type of thing that makes me glad I’m not sitting on my couch every Monday, watching someone else as GM, wondering “what if”.
Have a nice day! If you like it, share it. Please comment on your favorite Stephanie McMahon moment if you feel so inclined. Remember, we are talking about a woman who had a knock-down, drag-out brawl with her own father on a WWE PPV.
TJR Thoughts: I’m glad that Foley is back in the GM role because he did some of the best work in his career as the WWF GM in 2000. There was a great mix of comedy in there as well as serious angles and he performed very well in the role. Then he was fired as GM towards the end of 2000 and they didn’t use him in that role again until this year. There weren’t a lot of people that expected WWE to choose him as a GM, but I’m glad they did. Foley’s one of the best talkers in wrestling history. The more that they can have a guy like him on screen, the better.
As for his respect and admiration for Stephanie, I don’t think he’s being a suck up or fake by saying what he did. It’s genuine. A lot of people confuse the character of Stephanie with the actual person when the reality is most of us have no idea what she’s really like.
I really like Stephanie as a performer because she’s a confident talker and she’s not afraid to be mean in any situation. However, I think her character is ineffective at this point because she does a poor job of putting people over. Her father Vince McMahon was amazing at reacting to others with facial expressions or taking bumps to put people over. Obviously it’s different because they are not going to have male wrestlers hitting wrestling moves on Stephanie, but they should at least use some women in storylines on her as a way to get some of the heat she has. In the last four years, the only ones she really put over were Vickie Guerrero on her way out of the company (Vickie tossed her into a mud pit) and Ronda Rouse at WrestleMania 31. When Brie Bella had a match with Stephanie at SummerSlam 2014, Brie lost due to Nikki costing her sister the match and there was no rematch. So what’s the point of a character that doesn’t put anybody ever? It does more harm than good.
At least with Foley on Raw, there is a bit of a different dynamic although Stephanie still appears to be in the heel role since she wanted to suspend Seth Rollins on Raw, which was pretty ridiculous and too over the top even for her. Foley ended up rewarding Rollins with a Universal Title match against Kevin Owens instead.
Anyway, I like when Foley shares stories like that and provides insight into people he gets to work with in WWE. It’s always an interesting read.